We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“16 years at Drakesbad” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Drakesbad Guest Ranch

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in Chester
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Drakesbad Guest Ranch
Save
You added Drakesbad Guest Ranch to your Saves list
end of Warner Valley Road, Chester, CA 96020   |  
Hotel amenities
Bishop, California
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“16 years at Drakesbad”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2011

We have returned year after year to Drakesbad because of it's rustic atmosphere and because it has activities for our entire family. We found it ideal as our family grew older as the children could have increasing freedom in a safe environment. The one major downfall is the draining of Dream Lake, a major error on the Lassen Parks part; as it had been there 90 years! Another concern is that long time(21 years)concessioners Billie and Ed are retiring, so that will be an unknown in 2012

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

42 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    25
    12
    2
    2
    1
See reviews for
15
18
2
Business
0
Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (12)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Seattle
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2011

Yes, it's out of the way. Very much so. But well worth it to enjoy family time, and beautiful surroundings. it is on the expensive side, and quite rustic. However, you feel well cared for, and the staff is very hard working and friendly. Great retreat for the family to relax, hike and enjoy the excellent horse program. My kids did not want to leave their horses.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Menlo Park, California
Top Contributor
149 reviews 149 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
104 helpful votes 104 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2011

My wife, son (9) and I spent three nights last week at Drakesbad, in the Warner Valley section of Lassen Volcanic National Park. We'll definitely come back -- it's a wonderful place to stay for solitude, natural beauty, and really good food.

Drakesbad includes three meals per day, prepared by a very enthusiastic and welcoming staff. The facility is very family and child-friendly. The large pool -- at body temperature thanks to water from nearby hot springs -- is terrific after hiking the trails to Devil's Kitchen or Boiling Hot Springs. We stayed in one of the standalone cabins and one night in a room in the main lodge -- both were comfortable and fun.

Some rooms have bunk beds, making it easier for three to sleep very comfortably. Note that there is no wifi and no cell phone reception at Drakesbad, making it easy to get away for real. If you need an email fix, you can drive 17 miles to the town of Chester, which has several hot spots.

Room Tip: Stand-alone cabins are larger and quieter but some have kerosene lamps; lodge rooms are smaller but...
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Ynez, CA
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2010

I had to laugh at the entire 3-star August 2010 review. That's exactly the kind of person the rest of us who love Drakesbad don't to share a table with either.

There are no phones - cell or otherwise, computers or TVs and electricity is limited. You have to drive in on a dirt road. You may encounter logging trucks. You might not have a shower in your room and you might have to trek to the poolhouse. These are the very amenities of Drakesbad that keep away the riff-raff.

This is a place to soak in A 90+ degree pool at night and look at stars, meet new people at dinner or hang out by the fire or sit and ponder the beautiful meadow and watch the deer go by.

The food at one point was exceptional, had a few problems a few years back, but now has gone back to its previous high standards. The concessionaire is replacing furniture and making some improvements now that the National Park Service has finally awarded them a long-term contract. But the place will always be rustic. Billy and Ed who have been the hosts for years are nicest people you will ever meet and cannot do enough for you.

To say that you can't see Lassen National Park from this location is laughable - true - you need to drive a bit of distance if you want to go to the main park entrance (this is a problem for someone from Los Angeles?) - but amazing, unique hikes take off right from Drakesbad - the Devil's Kitchen, Boiling Springs Lake and Sifford Lakes. And many more locations are available by horseback, so there's no need to leave unless you really want to. Drakesbad is its own destination.

It's not for everybody which is fine by me. If you can't live for a few days without your cell phone without withdrawal symptoms and are horrified by a few potholes, then this isn't for you. The peace, tranquilityand beauty combined by nice people make this a special place. Primadonnas need not apply.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney,Australia
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
67 hotel reviews
Reviews in 67 cities Reviews in 67 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2010

The place is rather unique with a long history.I stayed here to have access to the South Eastern part of Lassen Volcanic NP.There are some excellent hikes to do from the lodge including Boiling Lake,Devils Kitchen,Kings Creek Falls and Sifford Lakes,also much longer hikes if you are energetic.
Rooms are in a central lodge or cabins.My room{5 in the lodge} was adequate but I was disturbed a few times by guests slamming the upstairs door to go out.I have asked the owners, who incidentally are very nice, to put up a sign to stop this.
They have a great hot soaking pool{too hot for doing laps},campfire each night, good meals especially BBQ night ,horse rides.
There is no TV, Internet or Cell Phone reception which for me was great.You come here for nature and to relax.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
east coast US
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2010

Located within the borders of Lassen National Park, Drakesbad Ranch is an out of the way hidden gem. We stayed at Drakesbad in a cabin for three nights. It reminded me of summer camp when I was a child. I really enjoyed the experience.

The cabin was comfortable for the two of us with a toilet and sink. There is no electricity in the cabins, kerosene lamps are supplied for your use. We chose not to use the lamps and used flashlights instead. LED flashlights worked well and provided the light we needed.

The food was good. We enjoyed the meals. If you are going to be away for lunch, they provide a bag lunch in the morning. Dinner was very good with a vegetarian option offered.

There are some great hiking trails. Two of our favorites were the trail to Devil's Kitchen, a geothermal area and Boiling Lake, a hot spring-fed sulphurous lake. Drakesbad has a hot spring fed pool (no sulphur smell at all) that is GREAT for relaxing in after a day of hiking. Showers are located near the pool.

They have horses at Drakesbad if you would like to go for trail rides. The most impressive thing about the corral was how CLEAN it was. Manure was promptly removed so flies and strong odors were not a problem!

There were a few extended families that were staying at the ranch when we were there. They all seemed to be enjoying Drakesbad. There is a large "family room" on the first floor of the lodge with a woodstove, fireplace and lots of comfortable chairs. There is electricity in this room, so a it's a great place to curl up with a good book in front of the fire.

NOTE: If you are looking for a place to stay close to Lassen State Park, although Drakesbad is in the park, it is about 1 hour and 15 minutes away from the Lassen NP visitor's center. Go to Drakesbad as a destination and enjoy a day trip to the Lassen NP to see the Bumpass Hell geothermal area, Lassen peak and the park road.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
los angeles
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
138 helpful votes 138 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2010

Drakesbad may be pleasant enough, I suppose, for residents of the Sacramento valley who want to escape its 100 degree heat. The place seems to draw families with small children and grandparents. Children can play ping-pong, while gramps sits on the porch and looks out at a dry meadow with a bit too much skunk cabbage.

But if you want to see the attractions of Lassen Volcanic national park—its volcanic peaks, waterfalls, and wildflowers—you will have an EIGHTY MINUTE drive to the Visitor Center. Your drive will include at least four miles of low-gear unpaved road, encounters with road construction on single lane highway 36, possibly getting stuck behind a logging truck, and if you are really lucky, you will see a local psychopath jump out of his white Ford pickup and start yelling.

I made this drive twice and also hiked in five miles—mostly uphill through generic national forest—to the highway. I’d recommend staying a little closer to the park.

I found Drakesbad a little too regimented (assigned parking spaces, assigned seats at meals). If you are assigned a dinner table with a Biden-like windbag and his family of three, there is not much you can do, unless the Drakesbad staff forgets to assign seats for single diners, as it did with me for the Wednesday barbeque.

On the other hand, Drakesbad can be a little erratic in its meal service and billing. Avoid dinner on Monday, where the meal consists of a child’s portion chicken breast and possibly the smallest green salad in Northern California. Try Wednesday, where the outdoor barbeque features steak and has a buffet line that actually permits second helpings from the salad bowl. At checkout, the people ahead of me, through-hikers camping nearby, were each billed $17 for Wednesday’s breakfast and dinner. My meals cost $88 per day (according to the “food tax” charge on my bill). I guess it paid to stay at a campground, but you’d still be stuck with a long drive to the real national park.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay
Hotels you might also like...

Been to Drakesbad Guest Ranch? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Drakesbad Guest Ranch

Address: end of Warner Valley Road, Chester, CA 96020
Location: United States > California > Plumas County > Chester
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Chester
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
In 1916 Congress established Lassen Volcanic National Park as the fifteenth national park in the United States. Privately held Drakesbad bordered the park in the southeast corner. The Sifford family continued to run their beloved Guest Ranch as good neighbors of the Park Service each summer for forty-two years. To preserve the Ranch and guarantee continued quality service for generations to come, Drakesbad was sold to the US government in 1958 for inclusion in to Lassen Volcanic National Park. Since that sale there have been three park concessionaires: for the past 36 years Drakesbad has been run by California Guest Services where the emphasis is still on outstanding customer service! All rates include three meals per day and lodging! All accommodations are rustic and quaint, most without electricity. The use of kerosene lamps is a welcome respite from the modern world and adds a distinct and old time ranch feel to your stay. All rooms include a full or half bath and are gas heated. Housekeeping services are provided daily. As a member of the Green Hotels Network, we make every effort to reduce, reuse, and recycle at Drakesbad. General Information Drakesbad Guest Ranch is open (pending weather conditions) June through mid October. The Ranch is closed mid October through to May. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Drakesbad Guest Ranch Hotel Chester

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Drakesbad Guest Ranch, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.